If you’re looking for traditional watchmaking techniques, interesting material use, and avant-garde concepts of high-end horology, consider this article a light palate-cleanser between courses. Japanese watchmaker Citizen has announced a collection of clocks meant to offer modern designs based on the brand’s watches. The Citizen wall and desk clocks are at least reminiscent of Citizen watch designs, and with prices ranging between $100 and $250, it is easy to imagine they could be fun gadgets for watch lovers.
With the near atomically accurate time available on computers and phones, it has been noted many times that wristwatches offer little practical utility beyond some convenience. Yet, while not necessary, they can still be useful and attractive, and the same is true of clocks. The dials of the new Citizen clocks use 3D printing to add depth and detail, and across the collection are featured “upscale materials such as solid wood, crystal, leather, and metals.”
Citizen has, unfortunately, provided relatively little more information on the clocks themselves. For example, we don’t know some basic things like measurements – though that is arguably less critical than when we are looking at wristwatches where a few millimeters can make the difference between wearable and unwearable. Furthermore, while we know that there will be five collections – Decorative Accents, Workplace, Gallery, Outdoor, and Executive Suite – we don’t know which ones are which. It is not clear if the clocks we have pictures of from Citizen represent the full collection that will debut in Fall 2017 or if there are more, but we understand that they will continue to add models.
The clock shown above, based on Citizen’s chronograph watch designs, appears to be the most full-featured with a hydrometer and thermometer replacing chronograph sub-dials, as well as a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock for Citizen’s Eco-Drive light-powered technology. In addition to the time, at least one other clock also features the hydrometer and thermometer, which is probably useful. The clock above particularly looks like a Citizen Promaster Eco Drive Chronograph AV0020-55A AV0020 – amusingly, with even the tachymeter there for decoration. Why not go all the way and have non-functioning pushers as well? On that and similar watches, the on/off switch at 7:30 tells you if the alarm is activated or not. Here, again, it may also be just decorative, since it is not clear in Citizen’s pictures or materials how the alarm would be set. We will give Citizen the benefit of the doubt that the Eco-Drive wordmark and power reserve indicator are actually functional.
The collection appears to be varied, with some taking cues from certain watches and others more generally incorporating Citizen’s “signature design codes.” The cylindrical desk clock that appears very automotive-inspired is particularly cool-looking to me. I’ve often seen the clocks in watch brand boutiques, for instance, that look like Rolex, Hublot, Audemars Piguet, or other watches and wondered if you could buy them somewhere.
Not that you need to be a watch enthusiast to find a simple, modern clock an appealing appointment for the home or office, but the reference to Citizen watches is fun. We recently talked about a Junghans Max Bill “collectors set” featuring a quartz desk clock that added about $500 to the price of the watch alone. And we won’t even get into the high-end, avant-garde MB&F collaborations with Swiss clockmaker L’Epée (but you can see hands-on examples like this Melchior Robot Clock or this Starfleet Machine Clock) that many of us appreciate but far fewer can afford. The Citizen clocks offer the brand’s familiar value and style, and they will be available online and in-store from Fall 2017 for prices in the range of $105 – $250. citizenwatch.com